How to Write Review Posts that Make Money

by Ashley Barnett

A great way to make money from your blog is through review posts. If you have an affiliate you will likely want a post dedicated to a review of that company, product, or service.

You'll link to the full review anytime you mention the product on your site. You can also promote the review on social media and work to get the review to rank for when people search “[product name] review”.

Review posts are likely to be your highest revenue generating articles. So it's important to get them right!

Use the Product Yourself

It can be pretty obvious when the author of a review posts hasn't actually used the product.

There is a level of depth that you can provide when you have personal knowledge of a product that you will never get from just reading the company website or even other reviews.

Being able to show that you have used the product yourself will build trust with the reader, which will lead to more conversions overall. Even if your reader doesn't buy this particular product, you are building a relationship that can lead to conversions later.

It will also make your review stand out among the other articles that were written by authors who don't have personal experience. Your article will simply be higher quality than the others, which will make it more likely to rank in Google.

In the end, you want your review to include more than what the reader could have found out through their own research. If your review is just a rehash of what's on the company sales page does it really need to exist?

Write to a Friend

Imagine that your target reader is considering buying the product or service you are reviewing. What would you want them to know? Really sit and think about that for a second. If they were sitting at your kitchen table and asked you your thoughts on this product what would you say?

You recommend products to your friends all the time. You probably don't even realize it.

You've talked about that new restaurant down the street to your neighbor. You've found that perfect running shoe and told your workout buddy about it. You told your spouse about a new brand of coffee you had at your friend's house.

The frame of mind you are in when you are talking to a friend about a new product is the frame of mind to get into writing reviews. Use casual language, no need to formal or official about it.

Google “[Product Name] Review”

Part of writing a review is making sure you are answering people's questions about the product. So do a Google search for the product name with “review” after it to do your research.

Check out what the ranking articles are saying about the product, but also pay special attention to the “people also ask” questions. Are any of these questions relevant to your review? If so, add them!

For example, here are the people also ask for the search term “mint.com review”.

If I was writing a review of Mint.com I'd probably create an H2 heading with something along the lines of “Mint.com is Safe to Use”. In that section I'd discuss the safety features of the software, obviously.

I'd also create an H2 section titled “Mint.com is Great for Budgeting”, or something like that. Here I'd go into depth about it's budgeting features.

As far as the other two “people also ask” questions — I think any review of Mint is going to naturally talk about the fact that it's free so that's easily covered. And “what is Mint.com good for” I think is basically the point of the whole review so, again, easily covered.

Don't Skip Negatives

When writing a review, especially if the company is an affiliate of yours, you may feel the need to shy away from pointing out any negatives of the product.

Don't do this. Any review you write should be a totally honest review.

Nothing is a perfect fit for everyone. A product with all the bells and whistles will likely be pretty high priced — so the price may be a negative. However, an extremely affordable product may be lacking in core features.

There is a drawback to everything so don't be afraid to say that in your review.

Remember, you are looking to build long term trust with your readers. A reader who doesn't buy this affiliate product may buy the next one. Trust over time is more important than the quick sale today.

Reveal who the Target User is

This kind of goes hand in hand with not being afraid to state the negatives. Every product has a target user. Let your reader know who the target user is for this particular product. That will make it easy for them to tell if it's a product they would be interested in.

For example, Mint.com is a great totally free budgeting tool. There are a lot of great things to say about it. However, the users are bombarded with ads. That's a pretty big negative.

The target user would be someone new to budgeting. It's a great place to get started with budgeting for free. If they like using an app for budgeting there are plenty of paid apps out there that are ad free.

Use Lots of Screenshots or Videos

If the item you are reviewing is a physical product take a lot of pictures and video of the item in use. If you are showing off certain features show those features in action!

This gives the reader so much information and will really make your review stand out.

If you are reviewing an online service take lots of screenshots. Especially screenshots of things “behind the scenes” that they can't see unless they sign up. That way they can get a real feel for what the service is like to actually use.

This helps conversions because the reader can imagine what it's like to use the service themselves.

Discuss the Price and What's Included

It makes sense that when you are reviewing a product you will include the price.

Along with the price include what exactly you get for the money. If there are different levels of service, or different packages spend as much time as you need to go over, in detail, of what is included in each package.

If they have several packages this could end up being the bulk of your review.

Screenshots are a great way to show this. For example, if you were reviewing my course, Hit Publish, you could easily explain what is in each level by taking a screenshot of that area of the sales page.

Like this:

As they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Note: If the area you want to screenshot doesn't fit on your screen check out Nimbus. It's a free Chrome plugin that allows you to select an area of the screen you want to capture, including allowing you to scroll while you select the area.

Show Step-by-Step Instructions on how to Get Started

If the product you are reviewing is an online service show screenshots or a video of the sign-up process. If there is set up involved show the steps the user has to go through to get the service set up.

If the product is a physical product, consider an unboxing video or instructions of how to set up and use the product for the first time.

These sections take a lot of the mystery of a new product away for the reader. They can easily picture themselves using the product, which increases conversions.

Have a Pros and Cons List

Usually, a pros and cons list is towards the bottom as a sort of wrap up of everything you just talked about. This works especially well if you format it as a table or into a graphic.

Tablepress is a popular WordPress plugin for creating tables.

There are also product review plugins that can create graphics that allow you to display pros and cons, give the item a rating, add comparison tables, etc. Two plugins I would recommend checking out for this are WP Product Review and WP Review Pro. (Note: I have used WP Product Review personally, I haven't used WP Review Pro myself. But these seem to be the two leaders in the space.)

You can also create your own graphics in image creation software such as Canva.

Give Alternatives

Mini-reviews of the major competitors in the space can be very helpful to your reader. Like I said above, no product is for everyone so your reader will likely appreciate some alternatives.

Bonus points if the alternatives are also affiliates! This is a great way to add some internal links to your reviews. Below the mini-review, you can link to your full review of the alternative if the reader wants to find out more.

Hub and Spoke Method

Just as a quick aside, one effective way of increasing pageviews and conversions is to set your reviews up in the “hub and spoke” method.

A hub post is a list of all the main products in a certain category.

Let's say you are reviewing the top brands of SUVs. You could have top ten list of cars like the Esape, the Pilot, and the Grand Cherokee, each with a 300 word review and a link over to your article containing your full review of each individual car.

Then in each of the full reviews, you also have a link back to your hub post. In each one, you'd say something like “check out the full list of my most recommended SUVs” with a link back to the top 10 list.

Then no matter which review the reader enters the site on they will find all of your reviews in that particular category.

Choose a Good Title

You will want the product name and the word “review” in the title. Bonus points if you can also mention the products biggest selling points.

For example, a product review for my course might be titled something like “Learn to Create the Best Content on the Internet: My Hit Publish Review”

Other Examples:

  • Product Review: The Easiest Way to X (Hit Publish Review: The Easiest Way to Create Amazing Content)
  • Never X Again: Product Review (Never Have Your Posts Ignored Again: Hit Publish Review)
  • Stop Doing X: Product Review (Stop Writing Blog Posts that Don't Convert: Hit Publish Review)
  • I Struggled with X until I found Product: My Review (I Struggled with Writing Great Posts Until I Found Hit Publish: My Review)
  • Should you X? Product Review (Should you Take a Course to Improve Your Blog Posts? Hit Publish Review)
  • Product Review: Do you Need X (Hit Publish Review: Do you Need to Write More Compelling Blog Posts?)

If you are struggling coming up with a good title Google “[product name] review” and see what others are doing. You can't copy their titles but it might be enough to get the juices flowing.

Don't Forget about SEO

Even if you are to small to rank right now, you should be thinking about SEO so that you are prepared when Google finally catches wind of you.

The keyword for any review will likely be “[product name] review”. You will want to use your keyword in all the strategic places that you do for any post. This includes:

  • Title
  • URL
  • In the first paragraph, if possible
  • In an H2, if possible
  • Image titles
  • SEO Title (do this in the Yoast plugin)
  • Meta description (do this in the Yoast plugin)

Related: How to Use Your Keyword: And On-Page SEO Checklist

Adding your Affiliate Links

The whole point of this post is to get people to click on your affiliate links, so don't forget them! And don't be shy about it either!

At the VERY least you will want a link at the beginning of the post, in the middle, and at the end. But I highly recommend adding them a lot more than that.

I have a rule of thumb that there should be an affiliate link on the screen at all times.

This is the worst rule of thumb ever because “on the screen” will depend on the size of your screen — but the point is that you'll want to add an affiliate link as often as you can.

Every time you say the name of the product can be a link. If it's something you are repeating over and over then once per paragraph is probably fine.

Consider putting a call to action at the end of each section. Make it its own paragraph. Here are some examples I use all the time

  • Learn more about Product
  • Get started with Product
  • Get started for free with Product
  • Sign up for Product
  • Buy Product here
  • Start your free trial with Product here

I usually get more direct with my call to action the further I get down in the post. I figure if they are still reading they are probably pretty interested.

So the first call to action might be “learn more” but then it moves to “get started” mid post and finally ends with “sign up” or “buy now”.

The last thing in the post should be a very direct call to action asking the reader to sign up or buy.

Consider Using a Button

Instead of link, which can get lost in the text, you can use a button.

You can create a button in Canva and then add it as an image to your article. When you do this choose a button color that matches your site and leave it as a template in Canva so you can easily make changes.

When you add it to your site edit the image and add a link to it. This way when someone clicks on the image they will be taken to whatever URL you selected.

To do this put the image into the post and then click on it. That will bring up the editing tools. Click on the link icon and enter in your affiliate link.

Buttons are a great way of making your call to action stand out!

Summary

Writing a great review article is about helping your reader decide if a product or service is right for them.

Giving them as much info as possible helps them make a decision. It's not about “selling” the product, it's about cutting through the sales material and giving your honest opinion about the product and who the product is best for.

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